Monday, April 22, 2013

Calabogie Classic Race Report

The days leading up to this race were pretty horrible. Ryan was down with the exorcist flu. Explosive purging from both ends constantly. I left work early to take him to the ER. The next day I took off work to take care of him. He was wasted. Little did we know it would be 5 more days before he was able to hold anything down. You can read his story HERE if you can handle it, that is. I had eaten VERY little over the days he was so sick. I had no appetite at all. The drive out to Calabogie was beyond strenuous. Ryan was insistent that he still come and we spent way too many hours in the car. He writhed in discomfort in my passenger seat. We had rented a house with 4 other team mates but spent the entire evening in bed which was a bummer because we were with some rad peeps! Ryan was doing so-so but I wasn't great at all. I had a really nasty anxiety attack mixed with painful sinuses and a fever. 

The next morning was not looking promising for me. I didn't want to race. I drank NO coffee *GASP* and only managed to choke back a few spoonfuls of oatmeal. I had next to no fuel in my system and I was quite dehydrated before the race started. I reduced my bolus to half and took my regular Lantus as scheduled. I was racing at 9am which is a good time for me because I'm so insulin resistant at that time. Wouldn't you know this is the one day where things would change? 

Shelly and I warming up

It was stinking cold for an April race. I warmed up for a bit on my trainer in the parking lot and 15 min before we were to line up my beeg was at 3.8mmol/l (68mg/dl). For fucksake man. I unwillingly drank a juice box and we were off before I knew it.

This race is fucking rad. It's on a closed 5km circuit race track (for cars). I think the track looks like a dinosaur riding a scooter. It's mostly flat but I argue with that now because it was not mostly flat. My goal for this race was that I had no goal. Ride it, love it, don't take it seriously. I knew I was coming down with something. I was dehydrated and empty of fuel. I was worried about Ryan still being sick after all these days. 

The field of women consisted of a few categories. There were maybe 30 of us. We did 11 laps of the 5km circuit. No one was allowed to ride the circuit before the race so we were cruising at an easy pace. For the first time ever I moved around in the pack. I even broke free on the outside of a corner and whipped myself into a better position. I wasn't hanging on to the back for dear life riding the accordion like usual. I couldn't quite figure out what was different about this race. Were they going slower overall? there's no way my fitness could have improved. I didn't train all week. Whatever it was it felt wonderful. Exhilarating. I learned a few important tips. Firstly, never get too comfortable in a group. You have to be ON at every moment, there is no such thing as relaxing. Keeping an eagle eye on the wheels in front of you and hands hovering over the brakes. Communication is key and I saw a lot of girls making their moves be known. I also need to learn to be comfortable enough to take in nutrition and water while racing in a pack. It's just so nerve wracking sometimes!

Then somewhere around the 5th or 6th lap something horrific happened. We were on a slight incline and it happened so quick. Someone caught tires in the middle of the pack and took out a shit ton of girls. I was behind and to the right so I managed to avoid the carnage. At one point in my peripheral vision I saw a white frame go flying into the air and a body being tossed even higher. There were screams mixed with the sounds of scraping carbon fibre. It slowed me down for a second and I panicked. My first instinct was to get off my bike and go help but this was a race. There was a pace car behind us and an ambulance in the parking lot. 

The front half of the pack carried on as if nothing happened. They don't dare look back. 3 of us were left avoiding the crash and suddenly found ourselves having to chase back on. Just at the biggest uphill on the whole route. The two other girls eventually caught back on and I watched them for a long fucking time. I tried as hard as I could. I hammered it on the downhill (my strength) but just couldn't do it. My brain was not  agreeing with my legs. I looked down at my legs and said, "Go faster dammit!" I told them to turn the cranks quicker but they did not. They were gassed and so my race was over. It was now time to just settle in as a lonely single time trial. 

Lonely ride, beautiful scenery

I was pretty fucking pissed to be honest. I spent half the race comfortable with the field knowing I could finish with them so long as I stayed there. That crash was horrible. They called the air ambulance in and took one of the girls away in a helicopter. I'm grateful I wasn't in it and to be real, THAT'S what scares me about bike racing. THAT'S why I often don't have the balls to move around in the pack. Even though I know it's safer up front I don't have the power for that. When I passed Ryan he said, "You're not last!". I repeated that for the whole next lap because I thought he was shitting me.

On what I thought was the last lap a girl caught up to me. She asked if I was the leader which promptly caused me to laugh and snort. She had been caught up in a minor kerfuffle at the start line and rode the whole thing solo. We pulled over to the side only to find out we still had a lap to go! We both said "I ain't gettin' no fucking DNF today!" and off we went. By this point there was nothing left. We rode the whole lap chatting side by side. The spectators were all gone and we called it a recovery lap. Ryan was left waiting for me with my camera so she suggested we do a fake sprint. All in good fun.

Our fake sprint finish

I came in 5th in my category which consisted of only 9 ladies. I joked and said, "I bet the 4 behind me were either involved in the crash or DNF'd". I couldn't see how I wasn't the last one. Sure enough I was. Meh. Just call me DFL, Dead Fucking Last.

Overall, it was a damn good time. 45 minutes and half the race with the field was worth it. Today is Monday though and I'm sick in bed with what seems to be a sinus infection. I raced with this yesterday and now I don't feel so bad because I really felt like crap while racing. I was totally stoked about my performance and how much I enjoyed it. I had an average moving speed of 29.3kph (18.2mph) and that includes the bottom half of the race that I was doing solo and had slowed down so much for. 

My beeg was sitting at 4.2mmol/l post race. I knew it was a bit low because the hunger was intense. It shot up a bit post race as it usually does but I kicked it with a few units of insulin and rode out the rest of the day in blood sugar nirvana. A win in the diabetes world.

Thank you Ryan for taking so many awesome pictures with my camera and for being an incredible trooper. Congrats Shelly for wining first in our category!


  1. Firstly congratulations on finishing the race under not so great circumstances. That crash must have been scary and I hope the girls who were injured are going to be ok! From your writing I can feel the thrill you get from racing :) Feel better!!

  2. Nice report!

    Too bad you got stuck behind the crash. Next race will be better, and you'll be able to hang tough with the leaders the whole way.


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